Heritage Register

1321 Rockland Avenue (ex-195 Belcher St)

Built 1889

For: James & Mary Angus

Architect: Leonard Buttress Trimen with John Gerhard Tiarks

1321 Rockland


Ellesmere is a rare example in Victoria of the American Stick Style, with its vertical, horizontal and patterned stickwork over drop-siding. There is also Tudor Revival-style roughcast stucco and assorted half-timbering patterns in the gables. This two-storey building, which backs onto Rockland Av, has two deep, hip-roofed wings on this façade. The entrance façade to the right is an anomaly: parged to imitate stone, this two-storey extension with its Tudor-arched entry porch is original to the house. This block has crenellations, a parapeted gable, an angled oriel window, moulded corner buttress, and narrow, slit-like sash windows. The garden façade opposite Rockland has two steeply-gabled, shallow extensions separated by an upper floor balcony over a lower angled bay; this bay was added after 1962, replacing a conservatory. An original single-storey bay is to the left of the angled bay. Many of the main floor windows are banks of long, vertical windows beneath small, square, stained-glass windows; c.2004 similar windows replaced the 1962 picture window. Ellesmere was assessed at $10,000 in 1890.

Tiarks was working in Trimen’s office in 1889; the Angus daughters only remembered the young, handsome Tiarks, not the older Trimen. The office was also designing the Jacobean-style Ashnola for a Dunsmuir daughter at the same time. There are obvious similarities between the two houses, as well as Tiarks’s 1896 Great Hall at the Keating Farm Estate south of Duncan. Angus family lore states that the design of Ellesmere was based on Tiarks’s father’s rectory in Chislehurst, SE London, ENG.


1889-1962: James Alexander Angus (c.1833-1903) was born in Scotland; in the mid-1850s, due to an economic depression, he moved his family to the English Midlands. In 1887 he brought them to Victoria. James was a provisions and wine merchant with the firm of Angus & Gordon. His brother, Richard B. Angus (1831-1922) was a member of the syndicate that built the CPR. James and his wife Mary (Fairweather, 1839-1925) had five children: Lucy, Amy, James Alexander, Mary Isabella, and Richard. Mary was born in Russia, where members of her family had worked for the Tsar’s family.

Bella (1869-1965) married Benjamin Tingley “B.T.” Rogers (1865-1918) in 1892, and moved to Vancouver. B.T. came to BC from Montreal, and established the BC Sugar Refining Co in Vancouver in 1890 with capital from R.B. Angus. Bella involved herself in Vancouver’s cultural life, and established the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1930. She remained one of the symphony’s main financial supporters, until she retired as life president in 1960. She was president of the Women’s Musical Club, and a founding member of the Vancouver Art Gallery. She was named a Member of the British Empire for her dedication to cultural life.

Unmarried children Lucy, Amy and Sasha lived at Ellesmere after their mother died. Sasha (1873- 1952) was employed by BC Sugar for many years. He lived in this house until the early 1930s, and died in Duncan. Amy (1874-1943) and Lucy (1871-1948) lived at Ellesmere until their deaths. Lucy loved and cared for the garden. Dick (1870-1950) lived at home until he married Elizabeth Heaney (1884-1967) in Victoria in 1912. Elizabeth was born in Ireland and came to Victoria with her family in 1892. Dick was the founder of the wholesale automobile equipment firm of R. Angus Co. He was a colonel of the Fifth Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, and was a member of Oak Bay council for 17 years until 1946. Dick and Elizabeth moved back to the house in 1948, and Elizabeth lived at Ellesmere after Dick’s death until 1962.


1962-2002: G.F. and Kathleen Hall replaced the conservatory in the middle of the garden façade with another bay, in the style of the one to the left, but with a large picture window in the centre.

2003-06: Jim Britten and Mike Browne reconfigured the kitchen, and replaced the picture window with windows replicating those in the rest of the main floor. They then moved to 1372 Craigdarroch Rd, Rockland.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Rockland History

• Rockland Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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